28 April 2021|Latest Posts, Marketing, PR, Promotion
By Peter Jones. As an entrepreneur, I think we saw the worst and best of humanity last year. Despite the panic buying, political point scoring and ugly protests, we learnt the power of kindness and compassion. Lockdown gave us the chance to reflect, try something different and take a breath from ‘the office’ in a new way. I found great comfort and inspiration in some of the world’s greatest thinkers including Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, a hugely influential book about military strategy dating from the 5th century BC, which has many applications for today’s constantly evolving business landscape (or business multiverse if you wish LOL).
One question from the book resonates with me so strongly that I have it emblazoned on my office wall: “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” This call to action prompted me to create a new arm of my specialist recruitment business during the first national lockdown, as historically I have been a huge pioneer of the power of video and although it has taken a global pandemic for our retail industry and society as a whole to catch up, we are now starting to welcome online content as a recognised medium.
In fact for me personally, video has become one of our most effective marketing tools throughout the crisis and this is further corroborated by Hubspot, which states 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and that by 2022, Cisco reports online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017!
Trust me when I say Virtual Meetings, Virtual Design Consultations, Virtual 360 Degree retail showroom Tours and most significantly Branding, Creative Content and Digital storytelling are here to stay.
I believe that we are all retailers, in the sense that every business is offering a unique product or service, so you need to make sure that you are ‘on brand’ and flagging USPs throughout social media campaigns, video posts and when collaborating. Decide what the essence of your story is and live your brand values, and be consistent rather than feeling you need to jump on every trend. The emergence and growth of TikTok and more recently Clubhouse, show us that you have to mix it up with the likes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and my personal platform of choice, LinkedIn.
Not everyone can or actually even wants to be an influencer, but a strong social media presence, relatable content and engaging video are here to stay and it’s up to you to become part of the ‘Digital Revolution’.
I am a big fan of my own voice and even more passionate about using Social Media and LinkedIn. Using these platforms as a focus point for our recruitment initiatives and extension of my own personality has always come quite naturally to me, but the last 12 months during the global pandemic has now made this essential for all brands and businesses.
Being lucky enough to have a large following and extensive network of contacts is a dream come true if you want to share content, yet I find that I am always looking for something different or something better in order to stay ahead of the curve in terms of impact, engagement and consistency.
If you are looking at a company or personal brand, I always encourage entrepreneurs to look outside of their industry for the best influenced. Interiors is a design led industry, for example, and you can easily find examples of brilliant creativity in Music, Fashion, Sport and Celebrity cultures.
Remember that whilst you are the expert on you, there are plenty of customers who have yet to meet you so keep clearly communicating the value you are bringing and make inviting offers to serve your community. For the first time in living history, we have seen retailers close their doors, distributors sitting on stock and manufacturers experiencing new challenges like changes to their workforce, production and logistics. However, this downturn has also created different opportunities everywhere, providing some with new levels of demand and supply that are increasing revenues and margins faster than ever before. The ultimate challenge we all face is visibility – as nobody wants to be conspicuous by their absence – especially now.
Managing your own digital footprint is crucial if you want to maintain visibility and grow your network as without it, you’re instantly limiting your business pool and potential for new opportunities, especially when online interaction like virtual exhibitions, zoom meetings and video calls are fast becoming a go-to means of safe communication. When looking at what works, I find putting a face behind your brand name is king because it makes you far more relatable, so always make sure that both your business and personal branding are looked at in equal measure. Have a strong brand personality and industry voice to maximize your leverage.
Embrace change and look at your current business model, as with a little refinement, you might be able to define your customer value proposition all the more and increase your product offering. Make sure you look to your industry to share expertise and gather mutual support as together, we are unequivocally stronger. Depending on your sector, I recommend enlisting the help of industry helplines, buying groups and specialist associations as they can mitigate your risk by working hard to increase margins and support your business.
That, along with making sure your customers are always able to reach you is crucial, so whether it’s using your website, by phone, on social media platforms or via a virtual showroom tour or video consultation when appointments are prohibited, make sure your customer feels looked after.
As we prepare for life after lockdown, I also urge every entrepreneur to be mindful of their team’s wellbeing as even in times of normal operation, the right level of support is a critical component of any successful business.
About the Author
Peter Jones created Jones Digital last summer as a way to champion digital storytelling, social media content, branding and marketing services within the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom industry, builders’ merchants and construction sector. This sister company also supports Foyne Jones, his specialist executive search and talent attraction service for these specialist areas. Peter handed back the keys to his company BMW and left the corporate world at the age of 28, to set up his own life-changing recruitment business, Foyne Jones. He runs The Foyne Jones Show podcast which has over 1,000 regular listeners in 17 countries. In the past six months he partnered with Quooker to offer a free-of-charge redundancy support program for anyone effected by redundancy in the pandemic, and he also works in partnership with Virtual 360 Tours Glos to create bespoke digital storytelling packages and virtual showroom tours.
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